Ken is not only a talented artist and writer, but he’s also incredibly giving of his time and expertise to his fellow kidlit creators, and serves as the regional illustrator coordinator for his SCBWI chapter. I’m honored Ken took time out to share his experience with graphic novel creation and to give us a sneak peek at his upcoming collaboration with author Teresa Bateman. Double bonus, one lucky reader will receive a signed copy of Petro and the Flea King!
Thank you, Ken!
You self-published your wordless graphic novel Petro and the Flea King, which my family owns and LOVES. Why did you choose that route? And what were the challenges of a wordless graphic novel?
When I started my publishing journey, I did it because of my love for storytelling and illustrating.
I realized early on that the traditional publishing route is a long journey and that there is a high possibility that many of my ideas will not make it to the bookshelves. So I told myself that I would have a plan B which is self-publishing. It just so happened that Createspace/Amazon offered such a service that fit Petro and the Flea King perfectly.
I knew that a wordless graphic novel would be a challenge to sell, but at that point it didn’t matter. The train had left the station, and it was a book that I wanted to create.
One of the technical challenges was a personal test to see if I could complete a book with 100+ pages of illustrations and to see how long it would take. And being that it was a wordless, I had to create more illustrations to show small emotions and reactions that could be easily conveyed by speech or word bubble.
I showed the book to graphic novel publishers, and even traditional publishers, and while they loved the illustrations and ideas, they also had to look at the market dynamics to see if it was something they could sell. And this is probably the biggest challenge.
You also funded your The Tall Tales of Talbot Toluca series through Kickstarter, so you’ve already got this amazing entrepreneurial spirit. What pushed you into traditional publishing finally? Continue reading